CABINET says some healthcare facilities in rural areas across Zimbabwe were electrified during the third 100 day cycle.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
This report was made by the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Monitoring and Implementation of Government Programs Honorable Joram Gumbo.
“42 institutions including schools, clinics and homesteads and service centres were electrified in the rural provinces,” announced the Minister of information, media and broadcasting services Senator Monica Mutsvanga in the last Post Cabinet media Briefing of the year.
This electrification of clinics comes at a time when most clinics nationwide especially those in the rural areas have not been spared by the incessant power cuts.
Amidst the power crisis, rural health facilities rely on generators or solar power. Energy and Power development minister Hon Fortune Chasi told HealthTimes that they are engaging potential investors to install solar energy in healthcare facilities.
“There are problems with the hospitals and particularly also with mortuaries. We have brought attention today on what needs to be done in that sector particularly when we look at hospitals, they have people desperate for their lives.
“We try as much as possible to circumvent them when we load shed. Sometimes that is not technically possible but going forward, we would like to have solar on hospitals and we currently discussing a number of proposals with possible investors. We hope that we will make progress around that and that we can resolve the issue,” he said.
Development partners, non governmental organisations and corporates have responded to the call to mitigate the power crisis in health facilities. We Care Solar, a California-based NGO, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are working with the government to install solar power systems in clinics and hospitals nationwide.
We Care Solar has struck a partnership with local NGO ZimEnergy Eco Foundation, providing compact rugged solar electric systems called solar suitcases.
Designed in 2010, these “suitcases” provide bright lights and foetal heart monitoring.
More than 4,000 health centres in Africa and Asia have been equipped with this technology.
Since 2016, We Care Solar has supported 136 maternal health facilities with reliable lighting and electricity in Zimbabwe, in the provinces of Matabeleland South, Mashonaland East and Masvingo, and aims to extend its project to other clinics across the country.
UNDP also partnered with the health ministry on a Solar For Health Project and installed solar systems at 405 institutions across the country to ensure uninterrupted power, including at maternity wards.